What? There’s a plan B for Line 9B?!

Aren’t we just grasping at pipes here? It’s a subject that just won’t go away, even though politicians keep letting it get away.

A circumnavigating way of saying that they can’t just snap their figures and declare death of crude oil derived from fossil fuels. Until such time as solar, wind, and battery power become as reliable and available as fossil fuels then, like it or not, we have to have energy all the time – and crude oil is the most abundant and reliable source of energy available to all of us.

Proof that this is becoming as equally abundant with my now, Charlie Brown teacher like droning on … ‘wha wha wong…’ the Enbridge Line 5 is about to take a perilous contortion. I was not surprised to see the indifference taken by our federal leadership. If the budget (what budget?) will balance itself, then I guess this supply problem can and will fix itself as well.

Next question!

The oil companies have gone the opposite attitudinal direction and are looking for solutions to what very well may be energy evaporation on one hand and a pricing explosion on the other.

As discussed in many past reports, Line 9 is a spur-off of Line 5 and delivers Alberta crude eventually to Montreal. If Line 5 is shut down then the Island of Montreal truly becomes an energy island of the deserted variety. There’s a saying “What goes around comes around.”

The oldest pipeline in North America, commissioned in 1941, runs from Portland Maine to Montreal.

Currently the line is just being kept “wet” to keep it operable with a trickle of flow, but its current capacity is documented at 223,000 bpd, or a little less – and 50% of the volume will be lost if Line 5 is shut down. If the Portland Line is fully activated then crude could flow to the Sarnia hub as well as to Montreal.

The problem is – how will it be moved?

Line 9 will have to be reversed allowing crude to flow from Montreal to Sarnia. Crude by rail and trucks will also have to be increased in the same direction and then tanker traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway will have to be jacked up as well.

This will mean increased risk to the environment due to spills, much higher delivery costs, and finally, because Montreal and points east use world priced Brent and not low balled Western Canadian Select, the crude costs will increase dramatically.

And who will be at the end of the line?

You and me, that’s who.

And who will be backing us up?

Not you know who… He’s still looking for Plan A.

– Roger McKnight – B.Sc., Senior Petroleum Analyst

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